Slow Cooker Chili

Slow cooker chili

Well, I’ve done it! I’ve perfected my vegan slow cooker chili recipe. 🙂 Yesterday my family celebrated our annual holiday – Thanksmas! As the name implies, it is a cross between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (The name also implies that my family is extremely cheesy. I won’t argue with you there.) I was hosting, but due to my extended family’s new vegan-ness, I was faced with a dilemma. How to do a hearty, wintery meal without meat??? I decided that vegetarian chili and cornbread were in the cards. Plus, I wanted it to be a crock pot chili so that I could spend my day socializing instead of cooking. It worked out great, and even the meat-eaters in the bunch loved it!


  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans (see my P.S.)
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (see my P.P.S.)
  • 2 Tb. white cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tb. and 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tb. chili powder
  • 2 Tb. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (see my P.P.S.)
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tb. olive oil. Chop onion and tomatoes into small chunks, add to skillet, along with minced garlic, and saute until onions are translucent and tomatoes are tender. (See my P.P.P.S.) Drain and rinse beans, and add to crock pot. Add sauteed stuff to slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on Low for 4-6 hours, stirring every hour or so. Around 10 servings – this fed 5 adults comfortably with seconds (but no leftovers!).

P90x Nutrition Plan Servings:

1 cup of chili counts as 1 carb serving, 1/2 fat serving. (There are also a little bit of vegis in here, what with the tomatoes, but nominal enough that I’d ignore it!) If you sprinkle 1 oz. of low-fat cheddar cheese on top, add 1 dairy serving.

P.S. I use fewer pinto beans than the others because I’ve learned the hard way that slow-cooked pinto beans end up tasting like refried beans!

P.P.S. If you want to avoid adding the garlic salt at the end, you could just increase the garlic cloves to 4 and the plain salt to 2 tsp.

P.P.P.S. I have no clue if this sauteing step is really necessary. It may be that you could just throw all of these into the slow-cooker along with the beans and be done. However, since my hubby is not a huge fan of either onion or tomato, I took the extra step of sauteing them to make sure that they were more likely to disappear into the dish.

P.P.P.P.S. I served this with vegan cornbread and burnt green beans. It was warm and toasty, and a hit!

P.P.P.P.P.S. Those of you that want to make this meaty could try adding 1 lb of cooked ultra-lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken to this. Then count each cup as 1/2 protein serving as well. Yum!

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. (Wow, I think this is a P.S. record, even for me!) I should mention that while this is a slow cooker chili recipe, it’s not exactly a “set it and forget it” type meal. I tried that once before, and discovered that unlike meat dishes, beans can burn in a slow cooker! Last time there was a layer of dried, caked-on bean at the bottom of my crock pot, so I lost some of it. I stirred mine every hour or so this time and avoided that problem.

Merry Thanksmas, everyone! 😉


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  1. Patrich

    Hi CJ,

    Love your website, and keep up the amazing work! Is there a way I can substitute all the beans, add ground turkey and more veggies to give it a protein and veggie serving, instead of a carb serving?

    I finished my 1st round of p90x, 2 weeks ago. Currently doing a recovery week and resting because I got a little wild on my birthday and injured my heels from excessive drunken jumping. Once I see my doctor and recover from this foolish injury, I’m starting p90x+ !!!

    Thanks again for the awesome recipes!


    1. CJ =)

      Yes, I don’t see why not! All-meat chili is a fairly normal thing, so it should work. Let me know what alterations you make and how it turns out!
      – CJ =)

      1. Patrich

        Chili turned out great! Subbed the beans for carrots, zucchini , bell peppers, and broccoli. But I didn’t keep track of how much veggies I put in so it was hard to figure out my portions.
        I also have been icing my heels and they feel so much better. Glad they werent broken or anything severe, so I started pressing play again =D

  2. Jordan

    I just made this chili and it is delicious. If you’re looking for an incredibly easy, super flavorful recipe, this is definitely one to try. It yielded 8 cups of chili for me, which I portion out throughout my week. If you’re a fan of veggies, then definitely increase the amount of tomato and onion that you use. The 2 Roma tomatoes weren’t quite enough for me. All in all this recipe is fantastic. I highly recommend it!

    1. CJ =)

      Thanks, Jordan!! =)
      – CJ =)

  3. Jennifer

    How come you dont count the beans as protein in the portions? Cant beans be used as protein? I dont eat a lot of meat and am having a hard time getting all my protein servings in… if I did use beans how many would I have to eat for it to be considered a protein serving? (for example in a black bean burrito, or this recipe 🙂 Thanks so much once again!

  4. Amy

    OMG this was so good. I’ve been looking for vegan friendly recipes and this one is amazing. I like things really spicy and this one was spicy so if you’re a person who doesn’t like spice you may want to cut out some of the Chili powder and Cumin.

    On a scale of 1-5, 1 being gross and 5 being amazing I would say 5 🙂 Thanks CJ!!


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Amy –
      Thanks so much for the feedback, and I’m so excited that you loved this as much as I did!!! That’s interesting that it came out spicy for you – I’m trying to remember, but I don’t remember it being super spicy. Maybe I’m just accustomed to the heat! I’m glad you decided to comment because not everyone can handle spicy stuff. Anyway, thank so much for taking the time to comment!
      – CJ =)

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